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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Shall we stop calling things "politics"?

A number of events of the past week really got me thinking on whether the omnipresent terms "politics" and "politician" are adequate and even appropriate to describe the actions and people usually tagged as such. Just to think of it - someone orders that hospitals be shelled (or "inspires" gun battles in and around hospitals, while patients and doctors suffer and die) and people be burned in their homes, and they are officially political leaders. Other individuals live the whole life caring for their neighbors, the environment, fight against corruption and hatred, playing an indispensable part in building a more just society - and we call them politicians. The same goes for "political". An organization calling for community-destroying school closures and the privatization of our health care system is political, just like the grassroots groups working for safer communities, literacy, access to medication. So what is "politics"? Is it greed, violence, deception, crime and total lack of any moral and ethic guidelines? Or is it compassion, love, optimism, not asking for anything in return for help? If it's both, then maybe it's time to stop using this pointless label.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The dubious achievement of renaming things

Stephen Harper and his party seem to have a real urge to rename objects and organizations, place labels and signs on things, and do all of this in the name of Canada. Looking back at their previous "achievements" on this front of "work", it's possible to predict/guess what they will turn their name-calling or name-changing efforts to further:
  • 2009: "Annual Budget of Canada" renamed "Canada's Economic Action Plan"
  • 2010: Tony Clement's Slush Fund renamed "G8/G20 Expenses"
  • 2010: The War in Afghanistan renamed "A training mission in Afghanistan"
  • 2011: "Government of Canada" renamed "Harper Government"
  • 2011: The word "royal" reinstalled in the names of Canadian military
  • ????: Stephen Harper's riding of Calgary Southwest renamed
  • ????: Ottawa renamed
  • ????: Parliament renamed
  • ????: Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms renamed
  • ????: Canada renamed